November 21, 2008 3:14:38 am
From social drinking problems to communication hiccups, image consultants and lifestyle managers are here to tie up all loose ends
Divya Bose (name changed on request) had everything going for her. Almost. A plush job with an MNC, a happening bunch of friends, a seemingly perfect home. However, into her late 20s, she was unusually averse to marriage. “Apart from the fact that she had witnessed a couple of bad marriages, it was also a lifestyle problem,” says Pragati Sureka, counsellor with Kornash Institute. Used to absolute freedom, financial, social and personal, Divya couldn’t get herself to appreciate the idea of sharing her life with someone else. And that’s when she walked into Kornash Institute, a lifestyle management and image consultancy organization.
From high school students unsure about life in foreign universities to mid level executives unable to assure bosses of their potential, image consultancy goes a long way in giving your life a makeover that you always wanted. “With the kind of competition around, it is very important to present yourself in a way that is a notch above others. Very talented people fail to cut ice in important places because they don’t look what they are,” says Parvana Babaycon, owner of Optimum Image Institute. Optimum, which opened shop some months ago, has had a constant inflow of clients ranging from lawyers, doctors and teachers to college-goers, models and young brides.
“From voice modulation to body language, different occasions have different demands. It’s not possible to fake something you are not, but it’s also important to convey the right kind of vibes by the way you talk, the way you sit, way you carry yourself,” says Devaleena Ghosh, owner, Kornash Institute. So, people like Babaycon and Ghosh have several tricks up their sleeves that might be your trump card for the next interview, or the first date!
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“I usually stress on visual appearance, verbal communication and non-verbal communication. For the first, I get stylists and beauty experts to help a client and for the rest I have a line-up of exercises,” says Babaycon. For example, she conducts a breathing exercise with her clients that soothes nerves and also helps you modulate your voice volume for formal conversation. Her modules start at Rs 5,000.
And it’s not always a craving for the better, glamorous things in life that is sending people in hordes to lifestyle managers and image consultants. “Often, you live out a lifestyle that you can’t handle – both emotionally and physically,” says Ghosh. It is then up to people like Ghosh to recognise the deviations that result in turmoil and help people reconcile with the demands of their lifestyle through talk therapy, writing exercises and demonstrations. “When you write out your complaints, it’s easy to weigh them objectively and act accordingly. Especially when you do so in the presence of a trained lifestyle manager,” says Ghosh. Ghosh invented the concept of psychodrama at the Saturday Forum gathering at her institute where amid of 20-35 people, snatches of several lifestyle problems are dramatised and enacted. “The script is done impromptu based on the discussion that goes on. And somebody who is going through similar problems can look at things with more clarity when they witness the drama bit,” says Ghosh. Classes at Kornash starts from Rs 200 per class and varies according to the module.
Karabi Basu, a customer care executive, says she feels secure after sessions with an image consultant. Sureka, who has handled clients with alcohol abuse and youngsters apprehensive about acceptance in a new culture says it’s the feeling of overcoming fears that is the most beautiful in this world. “From a housewife overcoming the fear of her husband’s social drinking habit magnifying, to a kid waking up to a course on diverse cultural appreciation, it’s not only about a professional edge,” says Sureka. It’s about getting emotionally used to your lifestyle and feeling good about life.
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